Back in 2018, legislators in Belgium and the Netherlands found that loot boxes in video games violated their respective countries’ gambling laws and banned games that contained the feature. With the release of Diablo Immortal set to take place this week on June, 2, Activision Blizzard has confirmed that the game won’t be launching in either country.
A report from Gamesindustry.biz and Tweakers, a Dutch news outlet, received confirmation from a Blizzard communications manager that Immortal would not release in either area due to “the current operating conditions in these countries.” Players were reportedly able to pre-register for the game ahead of its official announcement in April, but shortly afterwards, no longer had the option to do so.
A post uploaded to the game’s subreddit from someone working at Blizzard notes that “unless gambling restrictions change, the game will not be released in the Netherlands and Belgium,” and also states that attempting to download the game in another country like France would be illegal.
For all the Diablo fans based in the banned zones, using a VPN to mask your IP address might work in the short-term but even if you manage to run the game, there is still a potential to be barred from playing.
Age of free-to-play?— This year hasn’t exactly been a great year for games, and outside of Elden Ring, it has been marred with underwhelming releases and delays. While free-to-play models have been a popular format for a handful of years now, it seems that developers may rely on stop-gap methods to hold over their respective fandoms between releases.
That’s at least what we’ve seen with Diablo Immortal, which provides a decent facsimile of a true Diablo entry without having the full gravitas of one — Diablo 4 is rumored to release in 2023 at the earliest. Initially announced as a mobile game back in 2018, Immortal will be available for PC users as well and offers cross-platform play for users.